While Christmas is seen by most as a time for spending time with family and celebrating, it can feel radically different if you are mourning the loss of a pet. Whether it’s a recent bereavement or one from many years ago, the pain of pet loss often feels worse around this time of year. We understand these feelings and to help you through the festive period we’ve put together some tips for coping with pet loss at Christmas.
It’s important to note that grief affects everyone differently and while these tips may work for some, they might not be right for everyone.
Take time for yourself
One of the first and most important things you should do after any sort of loss is to take time for yourself. Take things slowly and check in with how you are feeling regularly. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed, particularly at this time of year, so if you need some time to yourself don’t be afraid to tell others this.
Create a Christmas memorial
We find that creating a Christmas memorial to those you have lost brings great comfort. It could be a simple as writing their name on a decoration to hang on the tree, or if you need a project to distract you why not give making a homemade ornament as a tribute?
Create a memory box
Some people find it too hard to look at their pet’s favourite toy or photographs of them, but doing so can make you feel better. Why not create a pet memory box filled with cherished items like their collar, toys, photos and veterinary records that you can look at when you are ready to do so.
Speak to those who understand
Sadly you will likely come across people that say things like ‘it’s just a dog’ or ‘you can get another one’. We know that it’s never ‘just a pet’ so it’s best to seek out like-minded people to share your feelings with. They will understand what you are going through and, if they are anything like us, be happy to listen to stories and memories.
Keep routines for other pets
If you have other pets at home it’s important to try and keep your routines as normal as possible for them. They could also be grieving the loss of their companion, and keeping up their usual walks or feeding times could be a comfort for both them and yourself.
Do something for charity
Why not make a donation or find a way to raise money for charity in their memory? Animal charities always need donations of food at this time of year and you can normally find a donation bin in your local pet shop or supermarket. This year we have been raising money for animal charities by offering baubles to our customers featuring their pet’s name.
Get support when you need it
It’s important to recognise when you need support. Getting help is nothing to be ashamed of so do not feel embarrassed to reach out to friends and family or a support service. We have information about the pet loss support services available to you on our website and have included some of them below.
At Dignity we are a team of pet lovers so we totally understand how difficult it can be to lose a pet, no matter what time of year it is. Do you have any tips for dealing with the pain of pet loss at Christmas? We’d love to know how you got through it or helped others to do so.